NEW YORK (
) -- Is it time for a corporate rebranding of
Corporate rebranding has a sketchy history. Honest attempts to reinvigorate faded brands, or to reflect changed strategies, are more often overshadowed by attempts to bury major corporate crises, and mask ugly reputations.
, formerly known as Blackwater, or
, formerly known as Philip Morris.
BP recently caught flack from President Obama for spending tons of dough on advertising to try to revive its public image while the costs from the oil spill are unquantifiable. In a rare turn of good news for financially embattled BP, the oil spill company does not have to spend one penny on trotting out a new corporate logo.
There are suggestions aplenty flooding the Internet for a new graphical BP. Corporate logos change even more often than corporate brand names, with U.S. stock market giants like
constantly perfecting the logo colors and swirls as if they were a market version of a mad Vincent Van Gogh.
There are minor modifications over time, such as the blue star stand-in for the hyphen that once appeared between "Wal" and "Mart," more recently becoming a festive, yellow sparkle up on the entrances to actual Wal-Mart stores.
The suggestions for a new BP corporate brand logo, though, are of the more drastic variety.
On the following pages are 10 BP Logo Redesign Ideas submitted to the graphically democratic web site www.logomyway.com.
Ideas submitted to Logomyway.com for a new BP corporate logo run the expected gamut -- from the unprintable to the printable lowbrow, and from the obviously angry to the utterly despondent. Let's start with the lowbrow at No. 10.
Editor's note: Let's face it, every aspect of the BP oil spill is of tragic proportions, so trying to rank the events in order of importance is about as useless an exercise as analyst attempts to put a price tag on BP's financial price tag. We won't attempt to rank these logos "in order," but we encourage you to submit more ideas to Logomyway.com, or to BP or the White House. President Obama did say earlier in the oil spill crisis that anyone who has good ideas should feel free to contact him directly.
Anyway, to start things off at No. 10, believe us when we say this logo wasn't even close to the lowest of the lowbrow, with some new BP logo offerings on Logomyway.com that might lower the taste rating of a celebrity sex video. The much-maligned yellow and green BP star, or whatever that weird shape is supposed to be, has found itself attached to some inappropriate places in the human anatomy, to say the least.
The one point that the bathroom humor logo, and all of its sibling logos do make about the BP oil spill crisis, is that BP just can't keep a lid on worsening situation.
While the environmental impact of the BP oil spill will take years until its final toll is exacted, the economic impact to BP can be measured day-in and day-out in its incredible market losses. Some frustrated Street analysts are saying that panic has set in and BP at under $30 just isn't a justifiable selling trend. However, until someone can put an exact, definitive price tag on the worsening BP financial crisis, which they can't, it is safe to assume that BP's stock price may remain in the toilet.
Finally, it is safe to assume the image above is not the "containment dome" that BP hoped would come to represent the oil spill crisis.
It is not surprising that many of the suggestions for a new BP logo express anger in terms of the threat to wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico region, and one comes in at No. 9 in this non-focus group-tested ranking of potential BP logo changes.
In a tragic irony of the BP oil spill, an oft-quoted bit of oil-spill trivia is that hair is a great absorber of oil, and barber shops and salons around the country have been put on alert to think differently about floor sweepings. Yet the sad truth is that there is already too much animal surface absorbing the heavy crude from the leaking BP well, specifically in the form of feathers from the many types of seabirds referenced in the above new BP logo image.
The brown pelican, driven to the brink of extinction in the 1960s after the widespread use of the pesticides DDT, has rebounded in the Gulf and has become one of the poster-children, or poster-animals, for the widening BP oil spill impact on the Gulf Coast wildlife. It's no longer the 1960s
, but a very ugly spring and summer, and beyond, for the Brown Pelican. The brown pelican was just removed from the endangered species list last year.
(B)rown (P)elican...There's a BP acronym tragic irony for you.
It's not just the brown pelicans, but white pelicans, terns, gulls, shorebirds, skimmers and herons that are at risk with the oil encroaching on sensitive nesting and feeding areas along the Gulf Coast.
The lawsuits filed by environmental groups have also been flooding into the Gulf region, though many are taking aim at the Interior Department of the U.S. federal government. The Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and the Gulf Restoration Network have all filed lawsuits making various allegations regarding Interior's Minerals Management Service ignoring law in its "too cozy" relationship with the oil industry.
Biblical miracles often rain fish to feed the masses, but this manmade storm, coming in at No. 8 among new BP logo ideas, tells the simple tale that the fish are dying. X marks the spot of the tragedy.
From the biggest fish, the whale shark, which feeds in Gulf of Mexico waters during the summer, to the already endangered bluefin tuna, which uses Gulf of Mexico waters as a spawning ground, many fish species are threatened by the oil spill.
There are 28 species of whales and dolphins in the Gulf, a majority of which inhabit Gulf waters year-round, according to conservation group Oceana.
The evolving wildlife toll in the Gulf of Mexico would require an advanced course in marine biology to track, from spiny lobsters and all sorts of marine bivalves to oysters and fish larvae.
One of the more surprising finds among the BP logo suggestions submitted to Logomyway.com is that the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, or some type of turtle, was not a popular choice for new BP logos. A British bookmaker recently put the odds of the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle going extinct as a result of the oil spill as an odds-on, and arguably unethical, wager.
BP's imprint on the Gulf Coast is well reflected by new BP logo idea No. 7. And if there is one thing worse than having blood on your hands, it is having oil on your hands that is causing so much loss of life across species.
Many of the Gulf species that feed on or near the surface, like the bottlenose dolphin, are impacted by the heavy crude oil that the human eye can see in photos or on television. That's the proverbial blood on BP's hands that the public can monitor easily.
However, one of the most distressing imprints of the worsening BP oil spill crisis was the confirmation from the federal government on June 9 that there are oil plumes hidden from the public eye roving in the deeper waters of the Gulf.
BP continues to deny that the oil plumes exist, going so far as to turn the controversy into a semantic arguments, and saying a plume is not a plume is not a plume, but maybe a few minor concentrations of underwater oil that shouldn't be of concern to anyone. U.S. Coast Guard Read Admiral suggested the replacement of the "oil plume" with the "oil cloud" on Wednesday.
It's a game of BP oil spill MadLibs among the powers that be. Yet, the fear from the independent scientific community is that while BP and the government can play with the words in a new turn on George Orwell's warnings about the political abuse of language, the underwater oil plumes are creating a marine dead zone. Sea microbes are sucking up all the oxygen in the areas of the water column that the plumes inhabit.
Plume. Cloud. Why not just call it a "marine black hole," or "Black Portal of marine death" for the sake of acronymic consistency.
The loss of wildlife has a huge impact on the economy of the Gulf Coast region. The fishing industry, in particular, has taken a devastating hit as a result of the BP oil spill, and is represented at No. 6 on the list of potential new BP logos.
Among fish species that support fishing businesses along the Gulf coast are snapper and grouper. Conservation group Oceana notes that gag grouper spawning peaks in early April and red snapper spawning starts in late May, peaking from June-August. In effect, the spawning season couldn't be timed worse, and these vital fishing industry catches could see their numbers depleted.
The latest count is that more than one-third of all federal fishing waters in the Gulf remain closed due to the BP oil spill.
The economic impact on fishing jobs -- as well as jobs in the summer tourism sector, and the oil and gas sector as the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf continues -- is at the heart of the one of the evolving controversies related to BP: when will it get its act together and pay claims from Gulf residents and Gulf businesses in a timely fashion.
This controversy reached its apex this week in connection with attacks from President Obama on BP's plans to pay out a hefty dividend to shareholders. The President began saying last Friday that BP better not "nickel and dime" the Gulf coast residents and businesses while paying its shareholders hefty dividends.
>>BP Oil Spill Update
By Tuesday, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Thad Allen, Obama BP oil spill point man, had sent a threatening, albeit polite, letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward, expressing the government's displeasure with BP's claims payment process, or lack thereof.
The Coast Guard Rear Admiral told BP it better get its act together, and it better make its claims database available to the federal government so it could monitor the payment process.
Not being able to keep up with the day-by-day damage to the economic life of the Gulf region is a major issue and source of frustration at the heart of individual livelihoods. One Gulf fisherman who recently received a check from BP for $5,000 after a delay mocked the amount of damages paid in comments to the
New York Times
, saying it represented about two days for his fishing business.
Given the general helplessness felt by the American public -- aside from the actually crippling effect on the Gulf Coast economy -- playing around the with existing BP logo has become a way for the average Joe familiar with a Mac or Adobe Photoshop to vent a little BP-frustration.
All these new BP logo ideas, though -- evoking death and destruction of unquantifiable proportions -- can quickly become pretty depressing.
New BP logo idea No. 5 must come from the more peace-loving side of the anti-BP graphic design-literate.
It's nice to have a flower or two in among the carnage.
What's more, even amid a situation that calls for flagrant anger -- and in President Obama's words, the hunt for "ass to kick" -- subtlety has its place, and this new BP logo idea evokes one of the all-time great marketing campaigns in U.S. history.
Those of you old enough to remember the 1970s might recall a public service announcement that featured a Native American canoeing through polluted waters, paddling past a frightening industrial backdrop, and finally standing at the side of a highway to have a passing car hurl a bunch of litter at this feet. The Native American actor turned to the camera and shed a single tear.
That's probably enough from the department of subtlety. The No. 4 new BP logo idea edges to the more extreme end of response to the BP oil spill.
No. 4 really pushes the envelope in representing the bad, the ugly, and the downright violent impulses from otherwise good people that have been stewing in the Gulf and about the Gulf, from an "ass to kick" to a "boot on BP's neck" to the more questionable end of the violent BP oil spill images.
Some of the BP failed methods for controlling the oil spill sounded downright violent, from the "top kill" to the "junk shot" to the "overshoot," yet they all demonstrated the high-tech efficiency of a slingshot or potato gun.
It's a little surprising, in a good way, that public anger over the BP oil spill has not turned more violent. There were reports of a protest in Los Angeles turning into a violent altercation between police and citizens in late May, but for the most part, the American public has behaved in a way that makes BP's behavior look even worse.
President Obama has changed his tune during the oil spill, from telling Larry King that he wasn't the one who should be "yelling and screaming" to bypassing verbal attacks on his hunt for an "ass to kick."
All in all, though, while there has been lots of angry testimony in the Gulf region and the inevitable boycotting of BP gas stations, America has remained Beyond Paroxysm. It's a fine line between good behavior and a feeling of helplessness, though.With more recent attacks being laid at the unhinged door of BP centered on failure to pay claims to those economically devastated by the oil spill, the quiet can seem ominous, too, and the prospect of an unhinged Gulf coast population not hard to imagine.
Since the oil-spill crisis began, the suggestions for what the acronym BP should denote has become a non-stop time-waster from office cubicle to family dinner table to café talk, late night monologue and newspaper column. New BP logo idea No. 3 keeps it simple, offering that it's not changes to the acronym that matter, but how dripping in oil the acronym is.
Buried in Problems seems a fair phrase for it all, and on Wednesday, BP reached a new low mark in its failing battle to fight back against the oil spill, with its stocks dipping beneath the $30 mark and to a 14-year low.
Of course, BP was famously -- now infamously -- "Beyond Petroleum" before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In reality, BP's corporate strategy over the past few years had already made clear to close watchers of the company that the "Beyond Petroleum" moniker had long ago sunk into the muck of a much broader dirty-oil strategy focused on deepwater exploration.
BP was once dripping in its own self-serving surface commitment to the environment and clean energy, and it still has the BP Alternative Energy unit, worth a few billion.
Still, the whole Beyond Petroleum rhetoric has, more or less, been dripping with oil, and irony, since April 20.
According to the latest estimates, while the BP cap has captured roughly 60,000 barrels of oil in the past few days, BP's logo is estimated to be dripping with a total of as high as 25,000 barrels of oil per day over the 52 days of the oil spill crisis. The 25,000 oil barrels per day, according to some scientists, may end up looking like a conservative estimate.
The world still awaits the report from the government Flow Rate Technical Group, expected by next week, though scientists on the committee say that BP has been placing some oil slicks in the way of getting at a more accurate oil leak estimate.
BP's claims that is capturing a majority of the oil from the leaking underwater well with its cap is the type of optimism from the oil giant that should raise the eyebrow of anyone who has been paying attention to the crisis. Unintentionally, new BP logo idea No. 2 represents the eternal optimist in BP.
That glass might contain oil, and it might be sucking the life out of the once-vibrant BP logo star, but the glass looks decidedly half full to us.
To recount all of the optimistic assessments from BP that have since become muddled in the uglier oil spill truth would require the type of time commitment that those of us busy thinking up new logo ideas for BP simply don't have.
It is pretty darn near impossible to view the oil spill glass as half-full now, but maybe there is some kind of cap that BP can engineer to siphon off a little of the oil in this glass, and provide a more accurate graphical assessment of its efforts.
We could go through every comment made by BP chief operating officer Doug Suttles and BP CEO Tony Hayward to the
CBS Early Show
Good Morning America
, from the "very hopeful" to the "guesstimates" and mere "blips" of an environment blight that the oil spill represented.
It's fair to say, though, that if you measured all of the optimistic comments from BP in Pinocchio's nose, and aimed Pinocchio's nose at a BP relief well hole located 5,000 feet beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, we wouldn't have to wait until August for the relief well drilling to be completed.
Ultimately, we may need a measurement from the Flow Rate Technical Group of the federal government to gauge whether this image is half-full or half-empty. That should only take a few months.
The Internet has changed the public response to major crises, and the BP oil spill has certainly been part of the democratization of formerly off-limits subjects, and the way in which public response is coordinated. No. 1 on the list of new BP logo ideas gets to the heart of the new information exchange power of the Internet, and its evolving language.
From the Logomyway.com call to BP logo arms, to the live video feed of the BP underwater showing day after day the heavy crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the BP oil spill has not been a LOL event, but it has presented the opportunity for a look into the deep, and a darker side of humor that is inevitable amid tragedy.
Other branding changes throughout corporate history have been no-brainers, such as
decision to change from its original name, BackRub.
has come a long way from the days when its logo featured an apple falling on the head of Isaac Newton. Today, of course, Apple has gone sleeker in successive stages, with a simple, chrome apple denoting one of the world's most recognized brands. In fact, it is probably fair to assume that some younger Apple fanatics don't even recognize this historical footnote of logo gravitas linked to their favorite company's brand name.
We encourage the citizens of the Internet, armed with a graphics program, to help BP settle on a new logo that better represents its new profile.
Time is running out, too. Given the recent escalation of fears that BP won't be able to survive the oil spill, it looks like anyone hoping to cash in on selling BP on a new logo may be dealing with a Bankrupt Polluter.
Create Your Own BP Logo
-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.
>>BP Oil Spill Update
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